Friday, January 2, 2015


On our way back to Cape Town from our days at De Mond, we stopped in Stanford, to have lunch at Mariana's. The house where Mariana and her husband serve lunch several days a week is pretty and airy, full of good things to look at. We were early for what I thought was a 1pm reservation, and were told laughingly that no, there is not a time, anytime is fine, silly people. Nonetheless, we sat for a good 40 minutes before a menu appeared. 

The food is lovely. And it is good to sit on a stoep and see amethyst sunbirds visit the agapanthus (below) in the garden. 

I've eaten here about half a dozen times and so perhaps I do get a bit impatient hearing the same menu jokes every time. 

Mariana cooks. Peter talks and takes orders. 

The brown waitress who clears plates and brings silverware before new courses seemed an afterthought. She was either nervous or disinterested, never making eye contact. I'd love to see her share a sense of place and importance in the way that Kobus van der Merwe has done at Oep ve Koep, where the local waitstaff are involved, and happily part of a team. 

With lunch we drank a bottle of Strandveld Shiraz (or some of it, as we were driving), an estate I had not known about till we drove past it, in the middle of nowhere, en route. It is South Africa's southernmost vineyard and the cool climate wine is very good. It pushed our bill beyond the cash we carried and since they accept no credit cards, Peter kindly allowed us to pay by EFT- electronic funds transfer - once we were back in Cape Town.

One can buy things, too. There were green beans for sale, from the garden said the sign, and I pounced when I saw these heerenbone (lit. 'nobility's beans'). I have no idea what their cultivar name might be, but they are associated with South Africa's West Coast, where they are grown. I had some for lunch, with my slow cooked lamb shoulder and its powerful little fresh green sauce. 

My mother loves these beans, so I scooped up 2 kg.

Just looking at them makes me want cassoulet.


  1. We're going this Saturday. Will report back.

  2. This post illustrates one of the biggest benefits of putting your time and money into travel -- the remembering and the reciting. Thank you for sharing -- and yes, you've left me hungering for cassoulet even though I'm not sure I've ever had one.

    This post also illustrates the importance of good punctuation. I am reading this over breakfast so not fully awake (and, BTW, up early enough to get my sourdough loaves started, thank you for the inspiration) and I read your parenthetical comment about the Shiraz as though it had no comma. WHAT? They are driving around South Africa whilst drinking a bottle of wine? So glad I went back. So glad you know how to punctuate. Even gladder that you don't drink and drive. Happy New Year, Marie!

  3. I'm going back next week for a 2 week visit which will include a family wedding at Matjiesfontein...this post has me longing for some Karoo Lamb

    1. Lucky you - the stars will be wonderful! Let me know how the hotel is, I haven't been back since the old days when it just shuffled along. We spent New Year's Eve there a couple of times.


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